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Brazilian President to Skip G-20 Summit Due to Floods

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has canceled plans to attend a major international economic summit, after flooding in his country left at least 51 people dead and 120,000 others homeless.

A government spokesman said Friday that President da Silva chose not to attend the Group of 20 summit of world leaders in Toronto, Canada, Saturday and Sunday because he feels he needs to stay close to home to follow relief operations.

The Brazilian leader and other government officials Thursday traveled to the northeastern states of Pernambuco and Alagoas, hit hardest by recent heavy rains and flooding, to assess the situation.

While the death toll has risen, civil defense officials said Friday the number of people missing has been scaled back from several hundred to 76.

Government officials announced Thursday that the affected states will each receive millions of dollars in emergency funds.

Rescuers continue to work to reach communities isolated by mud, water and debris, but the effort is hampered by floodwaters that have washed away bridges and cut roads. Officials say the floods destroyed thousands of homes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.